Wednesday, November 18, 2020

India to examine US approval for Boeing 737 Max to fly again before giving its nod

New Delhi: The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may have allowed the Boeing 737 Max to fly passengers again after these jets were grounded for 20 months following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people, however it will be some time before India gives its nod for this aircraft to fly here.

When the B737 Max was grounded in March 2019, SpiceJet had taken delivery of 13 of these planes and was operating them. Jet Airways had five Max planes in India but those planes were not being used for a long time as the airline — which got grounded last April — had not been able to pay their lease rentals.

As of now financially frail SpiceJet is the only Indian carrier that has about 200 more B737 Max on order. Whether Jet Airways flies again and if the new owners select this aircraft for operations remains to be seen.

“We will study (the FAA approval order) and (then) react. It will take sometime,” a senior DGCA official said when asked about India’s nod to the plane to fly again. Aviation regulators of different countries, including India, will need to allow this aircraft to fly again before airlines of those countries can begin operating the same after carrying out the required modifications in each Max and pilot training.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Stan Deal said as much “The FAA’s directive is an important milestone. We will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide,” Deal said.

The Max was grounded after an Indonesian carrier Lion Air flight crash in October 2018 and then an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash last March. Faulty software and design of this aircraft were identified as the main reasons for these two crashes in which 346 people lost their lives.

18/11/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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